The FBI and the Justice Department are investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for allegedly hacking into the network of team rival Houston Astros.
The hack was carried out by unnamed “front-office officials” with the team, according to a report in the New York Times, which described the attack an an act of “corporate espionage.”
The investigation reportedly stems from an incident last year when details around Houston’s trade talks were leaked online. At the time, major League Baseball officials thought the team’s internal network, called “Ground Control,” had been compromised by an outside hacker and alerted the FBI. It was later discovered by FBI investigators that the attack had originated from a computer at a house “that some Cardinals officials had lived in.”
Law enforcement officials have said the attack “did not appear to be sophisticated,” according to the report.
The Cardinals officials suspected to be involved in the hacking have not faced disciplinary action from the MLB. League officials are waiting until the conclusion of the official investigation before taking a “next step,” according to a statement released Tuesday.
Major League Baseball has been aware of and has fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database. Once the investigative process has been completed by federal law enforcement officials, we will evaluate the next steps and will make decisions promptly.
The Cardinals and Astros were rivals in the National League’s Central Division between 1994 and 2012. The Astros’ current general manager, Jeff Luhnow, previously worked for the St. Louis Cardinals, when the team created a special network, called Redbird,” for personnel data, scouting reports and other team information. Later, when Luhnow joined the Astros, Houston created a similar network called Ground Control.. containing a vast amount of team information.
Officials involved in the investigation suspect that current Cardinals officials used a list of password, used by Luhnow and others during their time with St. Louis, to gain access into the Astros’ network, according to the report.